Some technological changes are mere enablers, not really adding value to customers. In order to offer a game-changing technology that people want, engineers should not only focus on meeting their users’ needs. They should also have a nuanced understanding of their customers and how technology can be relevant to their needs. This means, for instance, digital services need to be complemented by human-delivered advice to create a good overall customer experience.
Most technologies benefit from having a digital element, which helps them provide information, support decision making or simply offer more convenience. Unfortunately, most digitally-enabled services are designed around users rather than customers. An understanding of this gap enables services to be designed more effectively.
Digital twist may not add value
There are many cases where a network connection or a user interface gives a technology a digital twist. However, this type of technological change is only an enabler. A car engine, for instance, can be accessed remotely or a piece of equipment can be monitored from afar. The real opportunity lies in adding value to customers, which requires a service mindset.
Understand both technology and customers
A common issue for technology companies is that business development is always driven by engineers, while customers are not in the picture. The best engineers benefit from a clearer understanding of who their customers are, their pains and ambitions, and apply these insights to technology.
Reach out to key stakeholders
Companies that sell equipment may know their users very well, but oftentimes they don’t really understand their customers – buyers or business managers who actually decide to purchase and pay for it. Digital services have made it easier for companies to reach out to these customers and other key stakeholders. Also, mapping customers and other actors in the technology lifecycle can uncover opportunities to meet their unmet needs.
The first of three pillars of digital maturity is empowering customers with digital tools and services that enhance their experience. Customers are more in control of when, how and where they use the services. The second pillar is for a digital business to have a limited physical presence and to work with customers and suppliers in digital manner. Thirdly, a digital organisation digitises processes and invests heavily in systems that improve cycle times, reduce cost and improve quality.
Still need human-delivered advice
Digital services still need human-delivered advice to fully meet customer needs. Although digital services give customers more control and information, they actually need more help to set up and use the services. Therefore, human staff who helps customers navigate is highly valued.
Get the core service right
Online and mobile services offer consumers a new level of convenience and self services, although not all are successful. The best digital services are part of a complete service experience. People suffer from a cumbersome and non-intuitive interface even if the overall service offers tangible benefits. A beautifully designed digital service attracts users, but customers may still stay away from it if the core services are limited, unfulfilling, or offering not much value.